— — JP—-—7II
l. il Mr
Dak To's Sky Soldiers
"On Hill 875, in the jungled
mountains of South Vietnam,
American paratroopers have writ-
ten another chapter in their illus-
Fighting in savage^ close-quarter
combat for the heights dominating
the Dak To military complex, they
have shown once again that their
driving professionalism makes
them second to none among mili-
tary forces of the world.
American paratroopers made
their combat debut in World War 1 1
in grim engagements in Sicily,
Normandy, Holland and the Pacific
Theater. They fought again in
Korea and have now distinguished
themselves in Vietnam.
They bear with pride their ability
to leap into battle from the skies,
a quality that accentuates their
superb capabilities as infantrymen
and armored troopers on the
In South Vietnam are units of
the 101st Airborne Division and the
173d Airborne Brigade. It is to the
latter, one of the first American
combat units committed in Viet-
nam, that the task of retaining
mastery of the Dak To area has
fallen. The 173d, a rugged outfit
indeed, has suffered grievously in
carrying out this mission, and it
deserves the nation's gratitude.
The proud paratroopers, elite of
the United States Army, comprise
the finest of our youth. Their sacri-
fice epitomizes the burning em-
phasis of the American commit-
ment in South Vietnam/'
When the 173d Airborne Brigade arrived in Vietnam in
May of 1965, they brought with them the inherited tradition
of the 503d Parachute Infantry that jumped into combat on
Corregidor in 1944. During the first three years in Vietnam, the
Brigade has written a history of world-wide fame and played a
major role in the South Vietnamese struggle for freedom from
The Brigade, organized in June of 1963 from the 2nd Airborne
Battle Group, 503d Infantry, underwent extensive airborne,
guerrilla, and jungle warfare training on its home island,
Okinawa, and throughout the Asian Theatre prior to coming to
Vietnam. Since that time, the Sky Soldiers have established an
unparalleled jjgjni of firsts in the Vietnam Conflict. Being the
first > Army ground combat unit to arrive in Vietnam the 173d
spearheaded operations in the Iron Triangle, War Zones C and D
the Delta, and the Highlands. The Brigade was also first to conduct
a joint American- Vietnamese operation.
One mission never to be forgotten was the first combat parachute
assault since the Korean Conflict to spearhead Operation
JUNCTION CITY. ^- n
Profiting by their experience in the III Corps area with the
Viet Cong, the combat seasoned Brigade moved to the Central
Highlands to answer the threat of a Communist buildup. Again
the 173d distinguished itself in close-quarter fighting against
the North Vietnamese Regulars who are better organized, trained,
and equipped than their southern counterparts.
The 173d Brigade won't take time to stand on its laurels.
Sky Soldiers will continue to drive on as they did in VIETNAM
THE THIRD YEAR.
This Book Is Dedicated
To The Trooper
Who Has Fought
Who Has Fallen
Who Continues To Fight
Printed by DAI NIPPON PRINTING CO. LTD. TOKYO JAPAN
THE THIRD YEAR
173d Airborne Brigade
A Pictorial History
The Brigade Information Office
Major Robert R. Brewer, Information Officer
Specialist 5 Roger E. Hester, Editor
My last months with the 173d Airborne
Brigade were climaxed by your rapid
response to General Westmoreland's di-
rective to move to the Central Highlands
and eliminate the growing threat in that
area. In the area around Dak To from
Kontum City to Dak Pek, you engaged
and defeated four NVA Regiments
thus destroying the enemy plan for a
major monsoon offensive. As I departed
in August 1967, General Westmoreland
praised your performance. He told me that
your rapid movement to meet each threat,
your aggressive attacks on a well-trained
enemy, your professional approach to
combat, and your Airborne spirit had saved
I now read in the • press and official
reports of your continued success. My
pride in being able to .say "I was a Sky
Soldier" is tremendous.
Good luck, good hunting, and God
AIRBORNE— ALL THE WAY
Major General John R. Deane, Jr.
Brigadier General John R. Deane Jr., former commander of the 173d Airborne Brigade
(Separate), has been reassigned to the office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Force Develop-
ment in Washington, D.C.
General Deane enlisted in the Army on 1 July 1937, and subsequently won an appointment
to the United States Military Academy. He graduated as a second lieutenant of infantry in
1942. During World War II, General Deane served with the 104th Infantry Division, rising
in rank from second lieutenant to lieutenant colonel.
General Deane arrived in Vietnam February 5, 1966, and assumed duties as Deputy
Commanding General and Chief of Staff I Field Force. In July of that year, General Deane
was assigned as Assistant Division Commander, 1st Infantry Division. During Operation
ATTLEBORO, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, this nation's second
highest medal for gallantry.
On December 28, 1966, General Deane assumed command of the 173d Airborne Brigade.
Since that time, he has led the Sky Soldiers on combat operations in the Iron Triangle, War
Zones C and D, and the Central Highlands. General Deane jumped into combat, leading
the first American parachute assault in Vietnam during Operation JUNCTION CITY near
the Cambodian border.
Since commanding the 173d Airborne Brigade, General Deane has been promoted to
Sky Soldiers :
Once again the 173d Airborne Brigade
finds itself in the forefront of the struggle
for freedom. This year as in the past, the
173d has proven itself as a fighting force.
It is also fitting that during the past three
years the Brigade has fought shoulder to
shoulder with the Free World Forces on
behalf of the people of the Republic of
As in each war and in each battle, the
true story of the Brigade lies with the indivi-
dual soldier — his heroism and his indo-
mitable spirit. He is the man who undergoes
innumerable hardships and suffering to
lessen the trials of others.
It is the purpose of this book to show, by
pictures and words, the life and accom-
plishments of the officers and men of the
finest airborne unit of the United States
Army. It is my hope that this account of the
173d's magnificent contribution towards
the victory that will come will be meaningful
and significant for each soldier of the
Brigadier General Leo H. Schweiter
Brigadier General L.H. Schweiter came
to the 173d Airborne Brigade with a
great- deal of combat experience. General
Schweiter served with the 101st Airborne
Division in World War II, and X Corps
and the 7th Infantry Division in Korea.
During World War II, General Schweiter
made combat jumps behind enemy lines
into Normandy and Holland. In the
European Theatre of Operations, he served
with the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment
and the lOlst's Intelligence (G-2) section.
In Korea, General Schweiter participated
in the amphibious landings at the Inchon
and Wonson, and the subsequent with-
drawal from the Hamhung-Hungnam peri-
meter in North Korea. He later com-
manded the 32nd Infantry Regiment of
the 7th Division in combat.
General Schweiter commanded the Pro-
visional Reconnaissance Troop Sky Cavalry
the first air cavalry unit in the U.S. Army.
He also commanded the 2nd Airborne
Battle Group, 504th Infantry, 82nd Air-
borne Division. In 1961, General Schweiter
became the first commander of the Fifth
Special Forces Group (Airborne).
He came to the 173d from an assign-
ment as Assistant Division Commander
of the 101st Airborne Division af Fort
Campbell, Kentucky. While in command,
the Sky Soldiers fought and won the Battle
of Dak To and carried out many other
missions throughout the Central High-
His decorations include the Silver Star
with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Infantry-
man's Badge with Star, the Bronze
Star with Three Oak Leaf Clusters, the
Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying
Cross for Heroism, the Air Medal (6th
Oak Leaf Cluster) with "V" devices for
heroism, the Purple Heart with one Oakleaf
Cluster, and the Master Parachutist Badge.
Men of the
173d Airborne Brigade
The 173d Airborne Brigade
is one of the finest fighting units ever
fielded by the Army. As the first U.S.
Army ground combat unit committed in
Vietnam, the Brigade has distinguished
itself in combat and has played a decisive
role in preventing the enemy from accom-
plishing his mission.
I am extremely proud to command this
unit and am confident that it will continue
to defeat and demoralize the enemy.
This book is yours-dedicated to you — the
fighting soldier — and to those who have
fought bravely and lost their lives. It is a
pictorial history of the Third Year of the
Sky Soldiers in Vietnam.
Brigadier General Richard J. Allen
Brigadier General Richard J. Allen assumed command of the 173d Airborne Brigade on
March 20, 1968 after serving as assistant division commander of the 101st Airborne Division.
Enlisting in the Army in 1940, General Allen served in the grades of private, corporal,
sergeant, and first sergeant until February, 1942, when he attended Infantry OCS at Fort
Benning, Ga. He graduated as a second lieutenant.
During World War II, he participated in all of the campaigns of the 101st Airborne
Division including the invasion of Normandy, the invasion of Holland, and the Battle of
A graduate of the Georgia Military Academy and the University of Maryland, General
Allen has completed the following military schools: Infantry OCS, Parachute School,
Armor Advanced Course, Command and General Staff College, Armed Forces Staff College,
and Air War College.
His decorations include the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Combat
Infantryman Badge, the Distinguished Unit Citation (One Oak Leaf Cluster), the Army
Commendation Medal, the Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star (France), the Croix de Guerre
(Unit Fourregere-Belgium), the Netherlands Fourregere (Unit), and the Master Parachutist
II Combat Operations
III The Fight For Dak To
,, IV The War
V Civic Actions
VI The Enemy
VII The Sky Soldier
173d Airborne Brigade
MI: Military Intelligence Detachment
PSD: Infantry Platoon Scout Dog
MHD: Military History Detachment
APU: Army Postal Unit
JJSAF: U.S. Air Force Control Party
PI: Public Information Detachment
CTT: Combat Tracker Team
REPL: Replacement Detachment
An army's might can be measured by the
strength of its infantry. The infantry is the
oldest branch of the army, dating back to
colonial times. The methods of war have
changed considerably since then, but no
matter how sophisticated methods of wea-
pons and war become, we still depend on
the infantry to deliver the final blow to the
Fighting an unconventional war in
Vietnam, against an enemy more apt to elude
than take a stand, the infantry has had to
adapt itself to meet the challenge of the
guerrilla fighter. Now the enemy is begin-
ning to realize that the U.S. Army infantry-
man is a versatile fighting man. He has
consistently met the enemy on his own
terms and beat him at his own game.
The airborne infantry soldier is a proud
wearer of two highly held badges — his
parachutists badge and the combat in-
He has fought in many battles against the
aggressive enemy. One of the fieriest battles
yet fought in the Vietnam war was during
the Battle of Dak To when the airborne
infantryman overwhelmed an enemy who
continued to fight even after airpower
scorched a hill with their lethal load.
The 173d has four infantry battalions:
the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of the 503d
Infantry which have distinguished them-
selves during many critical testing periods.
Yet, it still remains that the infantry
soldier, the. infantry unit, and the infantry
spirit is necessary to search out and destroy
the enemy. How well he fights is recorded
in the annals of history.
2nd Battalion receives Presidential Unit Citation
3d Battalion arrives in Vietnam
From the time a soldier first arrives in
country until he leaves, the deafening sound
of artillery pounds at his ears. The thunder
of the big guns may unnerve the new
arrival at first, but he soon realizes that the
guns bellowing in the distance are his best
Providing the heavy fire support for the
Brigade is the 3d Battalion, 319th Artil-
lery, composed of four firing batteries and
a headquarters and a service battery. Each
firing battery delivers fire support to one
of the infantry battalions — and if the need
arises, firing is quickly and capably switched
to support additional units within range of
the weapons system employed.
The battalion has twenty-two 105mm
howitzers which fire at ranges up to 11 ,000
meters. The mission is to deliver swift,
accurate, and continuous fire support to
the maneuver elements. This mission has
been effective in every manner.
The cavalry of today's Army no longer
depends upon horses. Instead, the cavalry
uses the most recent developments in ground
and air transportation to get them to their
Once to their destination, the cavalry
has many important functions. When at-
tached to another Brigade unit, the Cav
serves as a security force, a blocking force,
or as a reconnaissance and surveillance
force. When operating separately, the
troop runs road clearing operations,
escorts convoys, and conducts mount-
ed and dismounted reconnaissance missions.
Occasionally, the unit even deploys as a
separate infantry force.
Troop E, 17th Cavalry, is unique because
it is the only separate airborne cavalry
troop and part of the only separate air-
borne brigade in the United States Army.
Major General William R. Peers, com.'
manding general 1st Field Force and
Sergeant Major Vincent D. Roegiers, 173d
Airborne Brigade Sergeant Major, presents
Troop E, 17th Cavalry the Valorous Unit
Award for extraordinary heroism during
Operation CEDAR FALLS in January
Company D of the 16th Armor (D/16th)
has added an important dimension to the
war effort in Vietnam. Combining mobility
and firepower, armored personnel carriers
(APCs) can move in almost any type
terrain to close with and destroy the enemy.
They can sweep an area twice as fast as
foot soldiers, and heavy jungle brush is no
problem— an APC can knock down trees
up to ten inches in diameter.
The APC is an excellent mode of trans-
portation for personnel under fire. The
two-inch thick aluminum armor will stop
rifle bullets and shell fragments.
D Company's weaponry makes it a
formidable force to tangle with. Each APC
is a armed with a .50-caliber machine gun,
two m-60 machine guns, and a rocket
launcher. In addition, many of the Brigade's
seventeen APCs are armed with 90mm
The 173d Engineer Company is a unique
unit in that it builds, destroys, and fights.
Their job is to increase the combat
effectiveness of the Brigade by performing
tasks of construction and destruction. The
results of these activities improve the mobi-
lity of friendly forces and impede the
mobility of the enemy.
The engineers have to be versatile. One
day they may build a road through dense
jungle and the next they may have to
destroy a network of enemy tunnels. Very
often the engineers are under fire by the
Engineers also sweep roads for mines,
survey, explore, and clean areas for fire
support bases and landing zones, provide
water points, and are constantly supporting
the Brigade Command Post with heavily
fortified bunkers from which tactical opera-
tions are monitored and controlled.
Engineers are frequently attached to an
infantry battalion during an operation. The
airborne engineer moves as an infantryman
— fighting and destroying.
No job is too big or too small for the
173d Engineer Company.
Achievement in combat support opera-
tions has earned for the 173d Engineer
Company, 173d Airborne Brigade, the
highest award for an Army engineer unit.
The Society of American Military Engi-
neers' Itschner Plaque was awarded to the
173d Engineers for the year of 1967 from
a field of approximately 400 similar units
stationed throughout the world.
Named "the most outstanding unit of
the year," the airborne engineers received
the honor for their "extraordinary profes-
sional competence and technical profi-
ciency," as stated in the citation award,
which made special note of the role the
engineers played in the battle for Hill 875
in November 1967 at Dak To.
During the battle, the engineers were
deployed with the infantry companies to
destroy the bunker complexes of the enemy
forward defensive perimeter. The engineers
assaulted with flame-throwers and satchel
charges providing the infantry with that
hole in the line they needed to secure and
BEST IN 1967
clear Hill 875.
The Gitation took note of the way the
engineer paratroopers efficiently adapted to
the ever-changing needs of the 173d in 15
different major combat operations from the
jungled Iron Triangle to the Central High-
Constructing forward support bases in
100-foot triple-canopied jungles, rappelling
with the initial elements of the infantry in
assaults, clearing landing zones, roads, and
enemy fortifications were among the tasks
and achievements noted by Brigadier
General Leo H. Schweiter, former 173d
commanding general, in his recommenda-
tion of the engineer unit for the award.
During the battle of Dak To, the airborne
engineers were recommended for one Dis-
tinguished Service Cross and earned one
Silver Star, twelve Bronze Stars with "V"
device, two Air Medals, and three Army
Commendation Medals with "V" device.
In support of the Brigade's other combat
operations the engineers participated in
during the year, they recieved 27 additional
awards for valor.
Brigadier General George S. Blanchard,
Chief of Staff of the First Field Force,
commanded the engineer company for their
participation in civic action projects in his
endorsement to the recommendation. He
noted the record of the company in working
with ARVN units, attested to by the award
of the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry to
thirteen members of the company.
The Itschner Award is a silver plaque,
named for the former Chief of Engineers,
U.S. Army, and past president of the
Society, Lieutenant General Emerson C.
Itschner. Captain Thomas E. Weber, com-
mander of the 173d Engineers Company,
accepted the award on behalf of the
company in Washington, D.C.
All active Army Engineer companies are
eligible to compete for the award, which is
intended to promote leadership in junior
engineer officers and foster the esprit of all
Corps of Engineer units.
The Support Battalion is the Brigade's
lifeline. It provides a wide variety of combat
support functions that are vital to the total
effectiveness of the rest of the Brigade.
Company "B" (Medical) provides teams
of doctors and aidmen to operate the
Brigade Clearing Station. "C" Company
(Supply and Transport) hauls and stores
the Brigade's supplies. Its aerial equipment
support platoon furnishes parachute sup-
port to the men in the field. Third echelon
maintenance is performed on all the Bri-
gade's equipment by "D" Company.
Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters
Company, and Company "A" (Admin-
istration), are composed of many varied
sections. Headquarters Company is res-
ponsible for the many attachments to the
Brigade: 404th Radio Research Unit, 51st
Chemical Detachment, 172nd Military
Intelligence Detachment, 24th Military
History Detachment, 46th Public Informa-
tion Detachment, U.S. Air Force Control
Party, 628th Military Intelligence Detach-
ment, and Vietnamese army personnel. It
is also responsible for establishing and
securing the Brigade Forward Command
Administration Company also handles a
variety of tasks. The Adjutant General,
Finance Offices, and the 45th Army Postal
Unit all fall under the Company's control.
Company A's Replacement Detachment
processes all Brigade paratroopers on ar-
rival, R and R, and DEROS.
Dak To II, MacArthur
Dak To /, Greeley
Junction City II
First In Vietnam
The 173d Airborne Brigade, first U.S. combat unit to arrive
in Vietnam, fought the enemy throughout the II and III Corps
tactical zones during combat operations in its third year in Vietnam.
The Sky Soldiers on February 22nd, 1967, jumped from
C-130 aircraft at 1,000 feet to land on a 1 ,000-by-6,000 foot rice
paddy near Cambodia. The 2nd Battalion Sky Soldiers received only
light sniper fire as they descended on the huge clearing. Simultane-
ously, two more battalions of paratroopers were lifted by helicopters
to adjacent landing zones and immediately the biggest allied off-
ensive of the war was underway.
The first part of their mission complete, the airborne task force
had jumped into combat with lightning speed, blocking the VC
from the refuge of the Cambodian border. As JUNCTION CITY
moved into March of 1967, the Sky Soldiers were credited with
killing 304 VC soldiers.
Under the operational control of the 1st Infantry Division,
The Sky Soldiers once again moved into the battle fields of War
Zone "C" on March 20, spearheading Operation JUNCTION
Their mission was to secure the area at Minh Thanh located
70 miles north of Saigon and to initiate airmobile operations
on March 23. Small engagements with the 9th VC Division and
the 272nd Main Force Regiment were made daily during the
From early April to the last week in May, the 173d conducted
four smaller operations in the Xuan Loc and Bien Hoa area. Nearly
100 more Viet Cong were killed by the Sky Soldiers as they con-
ducted Operations NEWARK, FORT WAYNE, DAYTON, and
CINCINNATI during the two month period.
On May 24th, the Brigade was alerted for deployment to the
green and rolling countryside of the Central Highlands, 250 miles
north of their home base camp at Bien Hoa.
The decision to deploy the 173d northwest was a sudden one.
The Brigade had just returned to base camp after completing
Operation DAYTON in the May Tow area southwest of Xuan
Loc, and was conducting Operation CINCINNATI, with the purpose
of protecting the Bien Hoa-Long Binh complex. Before this was
done, the Sky Soldiers were alerted for immediate deployment to
the II Corps Tactical Zone under the
operational control of I Field Force
The Brigade's reaction was swift. Within
24 hours of notification, elements were
moving by C-130 aircraft from Bien Hoa
to Pleiku. The entire airlift required only
21 aircraft making a total of 208 sorties.
Within 67 hours, 2,329 personnel and 2,701
tons of supplies and equipment were trans-
ferred to the II Corps Tactial Zone. In
addition, a small element of the Brigade,
consisting mainly of equipment too bulky
to be airlifted, deployed from Saigon by
ship. After landing at Qui Nhon, these
elements came overland to the new Brigade
CP which had been established at Catecka,
just south of Pleiku.
The Brigade was placed under operational
control of the 4th Infantry Division upon
arrival in the Pleiku area. The Ivy Division's
Operation FRANCIS MARION, of which
the 173d then became a part, had been in
progress for sometime. The Sky Soldiers
immediately began search-and-destroy
maneuvers to the south of Catecka, con-
centrating primarily on the la Drang Valley
area, the scene of the 1st Cavalry Divi-
sion's heavy publicized engagements in 1966.
Despite extensive patrolling in their area
of responsibility, the 173d paratroopers
made no significant contact during the
New Dak To
While FRANCIS MARION was in pro-
gress, however, increased enemy activity
was being observed in the Dak To area,
some 54 miles farther north. A Special
Forces/CIDG element had made contact
on May 13 with an estimated North
Vietnamese Company, and a Mike Force
ran into another company near the same
location on June 15th. The 173d was then
called on to deploy a task force, consisting
of one reinforced battalion, to the Dak To
area to conduct operations oriented toward
locating and destroying enemy elements.
Accordingly, an advance party was flown
to Dak To on June 1 6th, and the task force
prepared to follow.
That night the Special Forces Camp at
Dak To and the 42nd ARVN Regimental
Headquarters in the nearby town of Tan
Canh were both mortared. The Sky Soldier's
advance party, bivouacked near the
Special Forces Camp, also received mortar
The following day, June 17th the task
force deployed from Catecka to Dak To by
combination of C-130 and motor convoy.
The force consisted of one infantry batta-
lion, one cavalry troop, one platoon of
armored personnel carriers, two artillery
batteries, one engineer platoon, and other
While the deployment was in progress,
however, the decision was made to increase
the size of the task force to two reinforced
battalions. Plans were quickly drawn up
calling for additional deployment. The
following day, another battalion moved to
Dak To by C-130 and motor convoy.
After the Brigade had been at Dak To for
several days the second maneuver bat-
talion was transferred there from Catecka.
There appeared at this time to be two separ-
ate threats to the Dak To area: one from
enemy forces to the southwest and one from
other elements to the northeast. The 173d
reunified at a new base camp, and was
ready to commence operations against either
The Sky Soldiers were not operating
alone. Various units supported or worked
with the Brigade at different times during
Operation GREELEY. These include the
2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry; 1st Air Cavalry,
with its supporting artillery; C Battery',
1st Battalion; 77th Artillery; B Company'
229th Engineers; 937th Engineer Group; A
Battery (155mm towed), 1st Battalion, 92nd
Artillery; B Battery (105mm self-propelled),
3d Battalion, 6th Artillery; and C Battery
(8-inch and 175mm self-propelled), 6th
Battalion, 14th Artillery. All three artillery
batteries were part of the 52nd Artillery
Elements of the Army of the Republic
of Vietnam (ARVN) were also operating in
conjunction with the Brigade. The 42nd
ARVN Regiment, with its headquarters
at Tan Canh, and the 1st ARVN Airborne
Task Force, consisting of two airborne
infantry battalions and a 105mm howitzer
battery, conducted both highway security
and significant search-and-destroy missions
in the Dak To area.
There were several major contacts after
the 173d arrived to blunt the enemy thrusts
against the Special Forces Camps in this
region. The 2nd Battalion, 503d Infantry,
initiated operations to the south of Dak To
on June 18th, and began moving back
toward Dak To. On the morning of June
22nd, A Company came under heavy
ground fire and attacks, including two
mass assaults from the NVA battalion
which had engaged them.
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SAIGON — A multicompany
force from the Army's 173rd
Airborne Brigade walked into a
. well-prepared enemy battlefield
Monday 10 miles southwest of
New Dak To, touching off a tight
that killed 26 paratroopers and
wounded 49 before Army heli-
copter gunships and artillery
could drive the enemy off.
The action look place seven
miles northwest of the spot
where 84 paratroopers were
killed when their company ran
up against two well-equipped
than two hours before Army heli-
copter gunships and artillery
could drive the Reds from their
The enemy Broke up into three
unils when they withdrew, with
two units Fleeing toward the
Laos-Cambodian borders to the
west and southwest and the third
headed into (he mountains to
the southeast, spokesmen said.
After the bailie the paratroop-
ers found six enemy bodies be-
fore darkness set in. No contact
was reported Tuesday.
—The 1st Brigade, 101st Air-
borne Div., tangled with an un-j
known-sized enemy force in
Quang Ngai province.
The Reds hit the paratroopers
with mortars and automatic
weapons fire. Air strikes and
artillery beat back the enemy-
force. Two U.S. soldiers were
killed while one enemy body
— Fourteen Communis! sol-
diers were killed by um(s of the
5th Marine Rcgr. two mile*
northwest of Tam Ky.
P AC I F I C
Estimates Over 400 Killed
N. Viet Battalion Destroyed: Westy
• * • EDITION
'ol. 23, No. 176
Monday, June 26, 19
NEW DAK TO. Vietnam— Cen.
William Westmoreland Sunday-
told survivors of a U.S. para-
troop company Ihcv and their
fallen comrades "killed over
40(1 North Vietnamese" and de-
it roved an enemy battalion
which had crossed into Soulh
Vietnam from Laos.
'Westmoreland, commander of
U.S. forces in Vietnam, told sur-
vivors of the 173rd Airborne
Brigade comnan; their unit
"virtually destroyed a battalion
of North Vietnamese troops "
"It looks lo me like you kicked
the hell out of them," Westmore-
land said at the
ward command post here
The U.S. unit — from the 2nd
Bn., 503rd Inf. — lost 7fi men
killed and 22 wounded Thursday
in a day-long battle with two
"You killed over 400 North
nkesinan in Saigon said Sun-
ty only to enemy bodies were
und. Most of the bodies prob-
ily were buried or carried off
lursdny night, one source
' t u a m <
land said. "I'm proud of you,
You've been through a tough
severe fight and have won il
(Spokesmen of the 173d said
Saturday they estimated 476
Communist troops were killed,
many by air strikes.
nd the first
battalion to hit the U.S.
(reportedly the 6th
Bn.. 24th North Vietnamese
Army Regt.) "was an elite bat-
lalion when they crossed in
from Labs, and Ihey were in
high spirits when llie> contacted
Paratrooper Heroes SLAIN AFTER
in Vietnam AssaultHITTING GI'S
iocHESTER Post- Bulletin
he added, "You know as
I do (hey are no longer
in high spirits and thee a.-e no
The battle took place barely
three mile.s from where West-
moreland spoke at New Dak To.
U.S. losses in the fight were 80
killed and 34 wounded.
A brigade spokesman said half
the nii-ii in the 173rd were new
troops with only a few months
combat in Vietnam.
The battle was the first action
of Operation Horace Greele.v
Which continued Sunday as a
Search and destroy drive in Kon
turn Province near the Laotian
and Cambodian border.
'Human Sea' Attacks
SAIGON (UPI)— Fighting in air raid on North Vietnam,
bloody hand-to-hand combat, with 171 missions thrown
U.S. Paratroopers beat off against the big Nam Dinh
hordes of North Vietnamese power plant and other tar-
troops who attacked in human gets. This was only four mis-
ROCHESTER, MINNESOTA, .SATURDAY, NOVEMBER II, 1967
waves using their own dead
as shields, military spokes-
men said today. Possibly as
many as 450 Communists
The U.S. Command kept the
Thursday battle in the Central
Highlands a secret until today
because two American pla-
toons were missing and offi-
cials did not want the Com-
munists to know it.
But most members of the
platoons were found dead,
spokesmen said. The 173rd
Airborne Brigade Paratroop-
ers suffered 76 men killed
PRICE 10 CEfand 25 injured. Each of the
sions less than the record 175
flown last October 14. But no
planes were reported lost in
the raids Friday.
The Central Highlands bat-
tle engulfed two other compa-
nies; which battled to reach
their trapped colleagues
through some of the thickest
jungles in Asia.
One moved in from the
north, the other from the
south. It took six hours of in-
tense fighting for the southern
column to reach the belea-
guered company. The other
company was beaten back.
The Paratroopers were
into an estimated 800 of the
Communists as they swept up
a ridegline 275 miles north-
east of Saigon and 18 miles
from the junction of South
Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
Hordes of the Communists
surrounded one Paratroop
company, about 200 men, and
launched a series of human
wave assaults carrying their
own dead as shields, officials
Reports from the battlefield
said the Americans hurled
back two Communist charges
but the third penetrated the
company's defenses. It be-
came every man for himself
as the two sides locked in
Officials in Saigon said
there was no firm figure of
Hit Reds In
18 Americans, 98
In Central Area
SAIGON (AP) - U.S. pa
troopers and dug-in North Vi
namese troops clashed fierc
foday in a battle that left
Americans and 98 Commuc
troops dead in the ninth day
fighting near Dak To in the c
The U.S. Command report
?5 paratroopers, from the U(
173rd Airborne Brigade, a
were wounded in the day-lo,
A battalion-sized unit of i,
U.S. 4th Infantry Division —pi
haps 500 men— operating near
alio was reported in contt
with enemy troops and ettcha^
ing fire with them into I
Communists ambushed a U
armored convoy in the sat
sector and killed five Army i
gineers and wounded seven it
15-minute light. The enginet
called in artillery support a
13 of the enemy died under I
The clash occurred as otl
U.S. soldiers probed a hill n<
Dak To. North Vietnam!
troops threw back a U.S. assa
on the Hill Friday and Am<
can artillery, gunship helic
ters and warplanes then rai
the hill repeatedly.
Monsoon rains sharply c
tailed the air war over
North but carrier-based Ni
pilots made radar-guided bo
drops on the Kien An airfield
miles southwest of Haipho
Bad weather prevented dam;
assessment. And Navy Al S
raiders sank or damaged
Communist supply boats i
barges 22 miles south of I
The fighting in the rocky c
\ .'.. highlands 270 miles nortt
Saigon, near where Cambot
Laos and South Vietnam mi
reflects tthe same enemy del
mination that cost the Viet
about 900 dead in efforts to «
Loc Ninh last week.
In eight days of fight
around Dak To, U.S. offic
said, 450 Communist soldi
have been killed. They lis
casualties among the 4th D
sion and 173rd Airborne Brig;
as 49 killed and 175 wounded
the same period.
Associated Press correspo
ent Peter Arnett, noting t
November has always been
war's bloodiest month, repc
that fighting at the onset of t
year's fall dry season is m
Solute From General
General William C. Westmoreland, allied
commander, later told the Sky Soldiers at
Dak To that their effort prevented the
NVA from overunning the Special Forces
Camp there. He saluted the 173d as one of
the finest units in the history of the American
The following week, the 2nd Battalion,
12th Cavalry, uncovered enemy base camps
and hit an estimated NVA Company seizing
a large cache of supplies. Two weeks later,
the 4th Battalion, 503d Infantry made
contact in another area with an estimated
NVA Battalion. This engagement was charac-
terized by a heavy volume of machinegun
fire and automatic weapons fire before the
The 173d's attention focused increasingly
northwest. Dak Seang Special Forces Camp,
situated north of Dak To, and Dak Pek
Special Forces Camp, located north of Dak
Seang, both received sporadic mortar and
recoilless rifle fire for an extended period
of time, while the Brigade concentrated on
eliminating the enemy activity around Dak
To. Also during this time the 1st ARVN
Airborne Task Force, under the opera-
tional control of the 173d, engaged
an estimated NVA battalion near Dak
Seang on August 6th. The following day,
after inflicting heavy casualties, the ARVN
troops took enemy positions and found they
contained an elaborate VIP command post,
in addition to the friendly positions at
The fight to eliminate NVA activity in
the Operation GREELEY area continued.
The Sky Soldiers, in the manner which
came to be expected of them, gave an excel-
lent performance against a new, better
trained and equipped enemy than they had
encountered in the III Corps area. Over a
wide range of tough jungle terrain, the
paratroopers successfully neutralized several
separate threats to the relative security of
1 »',.•;**■ -"f^sjJRP w ~^Bt : **""*
\ -JL %
Brigade Expands Operations
In the middle of September, the 173d
began to look more like a division when the
1st and 4th Battalion deployed from the
Central Highlands to the seacoast near
Tuy Hoa in the Phu Yen Province.
The 2nd Battalion continued to conduct
search-and-destroy missions in the
Tumoroung Valley of the Central Highlands.
On September 19th, the main Brigade
Command post at Phu Heip began to
direct Operation BOLLING. The 1st and
4th Battalions and the 2nd of the 8th
Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division operated
in the mountains and fertile valleys to the
west of Tuy Hoa.
In Operation BOLLING, the 173d also
worked in conjunction with the 9th ROK,
and the 1st Battalion, 47th ARVN Regi-
ment. The combined allied forces had a
dual mission: the destruction of VC/NVA
elements in the area, and the preservation
of the rice harvest in the Tuy Hoa basin.
During October, the Brigade saw two
changes. On October 15th, the Sky Soldiers
moved from their base camp at Bien Hoa
in the III Corps to Camp RadclifT at An
Khe in the II Corps.
The second change was in the organiza-
tional aspect of the Brigade. On October
24th, a fourth line battalion, the 3d
Battalion, 503d Infantry, joined the 173d
Airborne Brigade after five months of
extensive training at Ft. Bragg, where they
were attached to the 82nd Airborne Divi-
sion. The new battalion initially became
involved in Operation BOLLING.
The 1st and 4th Battalions successfully
completed their operation to protect the
Vietnamese rice harvest west of Tuy Hoa
during September and October. Then they
deployed once again to Dak To in November
to join the 2nd Battalion in Operation
The Fight For Dak To
The Brigade minus the 3d Battalion and
D 16th Armor, returned to the Dak To
region. Intelligence findings indicated that
several NVA Regiments had reinfiltrated
the heavily jungled area and were threaten-
ing the New Dak To Airstrip and the local
Special Forces Camp.
The Central Highlands was nothing new
for the 173d. They had seen action in this
region on Operation GREELEY, which
terminated October 14th.
In the ensuing battle for Dak To, the
Sky Soldiers fought during their finest
hour. The airborne infantrymen made re-
peated heavy contact with large forces of
NVA over a bitterly fought, 20-day period.
On a remote covered hill designated
875, a battalion of well dug in NVA made
a last ditch effort to stop the hard fighting
paratroopers of the 2nd Battalion. Both
sides took heavy casualties during the fight
characterized by close-quarter fighting and
communist human-wave assaults.
On Thanksgiving Day elements of the
4th Battalion rose to the crest of the hill
and ousted the last of the NVA defenders.
During December, the Sky Soldiers con-
tinued Operation MACARTHUR in the
Central Highlands. The first two weeks of
December were spend conducting opera-
tions west of Dak To in the Kontum
Province, while the 3d Battalion, and D.
16th Armor continued Operation BOLL-
ING in the vicinity of Tuy Hoa.
On December 14th, the 4th Battalion,
Troop E, 17th Cavalry, and the Brigade CP
returned to Tuy Hoa leaving the 1st and
2nd Battalions in the Dak To - Kontum area
under the operational control of the 4th
In Operation MACARTHUR enemy
activity and findings continued to slacken
during the month of December, while
action picked up in Operation BOLLING
area. The Brigade elements in the Tuy Hoa
area maintained daily contact with VC/
NVA forces operating in the rich rice
basin. On December 27th, the 3d Bat-
talion made four heliborne assaults and
encountered three hot LZ's. During the
bitter fighting Sky Soldiers reported un-
covering 51 communist bodies and cap-
turing 18 small arms.
On December 26th, the 2nd Battalion
moved from Dak To to Kontum, to con-
duct search-and-destroy operations with
the 1st Battalion. The area of operations
around Kontum proved to be cold.
Brigade At An Khe
During the month of January, 173d
elements made numerous small skirm-
ishes in Operation BOLLING and
MACARTHUR. On January 16th, the 3d
Battalion moved to An Khe. Upon arrival
they immediately assumed responsibility of
the base defense of Camp Radcliff, kicking
off Operation WALKER.
On January 26th, the perimeter of Camp
Radcliff was penetrated by an estimated
VC platoon. The An Khe Airfield was hit
by 60mm mortar rounds resulting in heavy
losses to the installations in the area. The
3d Battalion reaction force killed 13 ene-
my and captured one.
Outbreak At Tuy Hoa
The morning of January 30th, C Battery,
6th Battalion, 32nd Artillery, requested a
reaction force to assist in defending their
fire support base located at the Tuy Hoa
North Airfield. D Company, 4th Battalion,
moved in by helicopters and cleared the
fire support base and then became heavily
engaged with an NVA force in a village
to the south. They were later reinforced by
C Company and supported by elements of
the 47th ARVN Regiment. After heavy
fighting and airstrikes, the village was taken
on January 31st.
During February the Brigade continued
to drive on in Operations BOLLING,
MACARTHUR, and WALKER, under-
going a number of moves by motor convoy.
On March 4th, Company D, 16th Armor,
made the largest contact that the Brigade
had seen for several weeks. It was mid-
morning when the airborne armormen
were called to attack and clear an enemy
force from the vicinity of the Tuy Hoa
After four hours of fighting that resulted
in 200 communist dead, the armormen
cleared the airfield and remained in posi-
tion while the ARVN units pursued the
enemy, maintaining contact until late in
During the third year in Vietnam, the
173d Airborne Brigade did not limit its
activities to fighting the enemy. Extensive
civic action programs were conducted by
the Sky Soldiers during all operations to
deepen the ties of friendship between South
Vietnamese and Americans. More than
60,000 civilians received medical aid from
the Brigade doctors and medics during
visits to villages and hamlets. Paratroopers
have contributed both time and money for
construction projects aimed at raising the
living standards for our South Vietnamese
allies. To promote better understanding
the 173d organized numerous English clas-
ses for children of Bien Hoa.
Millions of leaflets were dropped within
the Brigade's area of operation in support
of its combat activities. As a result, many
VC and NVA soldiers defected to the
South Vietnamese Government.
It was a tough but gratifying year for the
Sky Soldiers. They have smashed the enemy
in the South and in the Central Highlands.
Their deeds have made headlines all over
the world. This was the third year in
irwm «we .._.
ZZ7£ZZ' n .Jmoos on Hill 875: Tired but Triumphant CHUTSTS SE,ZE "'"
U.5. Paratroopers Paratroopers
Win Control of Hill Chasing Enemy
Crest From Reds
SAIGON' »— American paratroo-
the Cambodian border in one of the
iles and launched
i' 1 ! In root out last-ditch
.North Vietnamese defenders, battle
front reports said today.
Pressing on despite heai
men of the 173rd Airborne Brigade
won control of the crest in action
Monday and Tuesday and opened a
dawn assault today against en-
'ietnamese along a
ridge line, the reports indicated.
The View From the Top of Hill 875 in the Central Highlands
AMERICAN FORCES moved toward the cr.,t of Hill 875 near Dalt-To in South
Vietnam where a 21-day battle taw et least 285 American! die. The Central High-
lands hill coit the enemy at leait 1.400 men. (Story on Pege 7. AP Photo.)
...» mimm mr w n o r Paratroops Finally
e Hill 875 After 5-Day Battle seize m 8/5 After
Bombings Precede Attach
ridge line was preceded by repeated
The fighting on Hill S75 has left at
least 79 paratroopers dead and
another 178 wounded since Sunday.
Total U.S. losses in the 22 days of
fighting around Dak To have been
put at 246 dead and S60 wounded.
Bitter 5-Day Battle
i ■ ■■ : .,
ing as hard and bloody as any in
d Its final
■ enemy pm up 01 '
1 .' i n Q.
-i Dak To.
' the top of embattled Hill N75 near Dak T
May Wind Up Battle
^.indup of the t> ; ;
•bloodiest of tlu- war for Americans
land North Vii
„ ,. n,i .ii ' ' ' :
PI Radiophoio) lhe Paratroopers pulled ba
close to the ridgeline late Wcdnes-
allow repeated air
atrenched North Vietnamese,
they spent a cold night In
Red Losses Climb
mm m m vak To
GIs Take Hill 875 ' '*''"""
After 5-Day Fight & * H "
rhur^TU^r -60 "' 6 -* 60 ^ US " P-«*W < I
Thursday-Thanltsg.vmg Day-after fiv. days of bitter fighting.
Saddles the route
' '*> the day.
Serving America's International Gateway Since 1837
SAIGON, Nov. 24 OB — North
tnamese iroops were believed with-
from the bloody Dak To
or. 270 mik\ north of Saigon.
FIGHTING STOPPl-I) ) I
r$ captured Hill 875 r o°ps captured Hill
rt-52 bomhcf\ movi
1 tes ihe Communis*
might usu for escape toward Camfc
ii i ■ ■ ' icli
now loial io: Americans killed and 172
wounded. \\ was climated that 120
By EUGENE V. RISHER
SAIGON (UP] --i ■ iara troop today gave chase
to a North Vietnamese unit shattered by U.S. artillery-
men near Dak To but American battlefield commanders
warned the Ocmrmini I
committed 6,800 troops to the
area and brought up huge 122
mm (five li
i: trued Zona
: * commander of the
20.000 Maiines in the 3rd
■ to v. s killed with
her men when his
helicopter exploded on a flight
from Hue to Dong Ha and fell
11 into a flooded rice
CREST IN FIERCE FIGHT
10-DAY DAK TO
i t Viet-
1 egular ., d
U.S. paratrooper battalion on a
out v - Hinam's central high-
day and with heavy
flVhR SOll FflF\ Ucks apparently inflicted heavy
U T lail OUV I \J1m3 casualties. An American relief
. cached the scene at dusk.
Jungle Fighting I> Fierce The bait ill «
and Close Airborne Brigade was cut off
»nq not e ior M hours Mmt ^ rejn
c,,?™- ,J ^ Q ? , ... Cummiimsl alar-k
SAIGON (AP) - Fierce fight- dead and wounded. Heavy i
n ?.. a i clfi « re "^ e ' ran « e my ground fire kepi rescue
' ■! g away.
... lat .1 Press
Press Laat-Ditch Defend-
ers on 875 Ridge line
front reports said Wednesday. .
upted Saturday in the jungt
of the central highlands ar
both U.S. and North Vietnamese , »f°™"ea "ess correspon- .
casualties mounted beyond the *"' i otl " Un 8 el reported from
500 mark in the 10-siay battle ? a , k ,. r °' a,ro "' Is n,,les from «* I
around Dak To lighting, the heavy communist
About 1,000 infantrymen and 1" ™' °" ' hu *' explosion
paratroopers Irom the U. S. slde ™ l S Perimeter, possib- A PLATOON sergeant and » Mdiotcl
4th Infanlry Division and the ly f ausl " cs It phone operator of the U.S. 173d Airborr
irboroe Brigade fougbl coultl "'" imme- Brigand peer into thick bamboo jungl,
North Vietnamese forces
iuth o '■ . ...
H-u hmilh was not the victim of
Fighting also fl
coastal lowlands near Tarn Ky,
; 3 Paratroopers Continue Push
damaged as troops
of the 1st Ail
iiade a helicopter assault
Monday agaiiist Red strong-
SAIGON l API - While US
and artillery pounder
tug-in North Vietnai
ds of the I
Bomb Retreat Route
In the Dak 'To area B52
bombers dropped tons of bombs
on the Co :n i
OOperi tried to
■ ' ! ' '■ "
,I ™^P |11 oday the lasl of 140 Amerii
jaratroopers wounded since
Sunday in bitter fighting on the
slopes of Hill
Associated Press correspond-
.nt Peter A-TieU re,
brutal fight.- of he
ar under way as men of the
' ' d a A ! r ^T ,1 g ^it
.npied to take the remainmg
l0I enemy bunkers on the hill u, the
cenu-al highlaiuis 14 miles
OUthwest of Dak To.
Short of food and water, ths
ia ■ . ' I iW enemy
[ire as Ihey continued their pust
:hc summit The\ use
throwers ag ilnsl h
tricate bunker system,
U.S. lets poinded the entire
Brutal Battle Involves
173rd Airborne Brigade
Enemy's Final Resistance
Atop Hill 875 Is Light
Only Squad I
By JOHN I.KNf.n
...tli and removed al HILL Bl
the rcsl in a two-hour period lo The enem
day. along the forti
This was the second most cost Thursday was light.
ly bsttlc of the Viet Nam wa Only a squad rem
for American foi
It rivaled i that had held Hill S75 throti
fighting in the la Drang valle nearly five days of bitter bal ll
nds ballalioos In hill
Largest Daily and Sunday Circulation in in* State oi i
3 SECTIONS, 50 PAGES
GI'S REPULSE FURIOUS
N. VIETNAMESE ATTACK
.-,, helicopter gunshipi
allacked the Communi
ing to find Hie reinforcement;
I. S. intelligence reports salt
m ; . d to the Dak To fron
iuth , „
lost nine killer
the battle area in South Viet-
nam where North Vietnamese
regulars and United Stales
Suspected Enemy Camf
Bombed After Fight
By EDWIN Q, WHITE
heal back a tuiious North Viet
namese charge late Monday and 21 wounded in '
firing 105mm howitzers a fighting, the U S. Command re
point-blank range m the jungiei ported, lis revised ligures pu
hills of the central highlands It V. S. casualties in 11 days a
oi Dak Tn. lighting around Dak To at 9:
>ui battle. Hie kUled and 521 wounded.
, , ietnamese broke oil 125 ENEMV DEAD
the engagement, but ihcir Tile North Vietnamese casual
suspected major camp two ties in Monday's battle were no
mites farther south was known, but U. S. headquarter!
plastered early Tuesday by said 625 ot the enemy wen
eight-engine strata- killed in the previous 10 days o
For 10 hours before the Nortl Noiln Vietnamese troop:
n struck, Ihe enem; launched a mortar attack Mon
had rained mortar and rocke day nighl on ittaiio
shells on positions of Ihe U. S of the 173rd Airborne, droppin,
forces, elemenls of Ihe 173r< I
Airborne Brigade. were not In
THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
1 "Hod Stales since ihe Cora-
miinisl artillery liege of Ci>n I bi
Seplember. The U.S. Command re-
ported thai for the week ending
VOLUME 22, NO. 12
Trooper] ot the 173rd Alrbornr Briead
near the Oest of Hill m as they
Low as Enemy Attacks
. i~,i ..J i„ h> a compare of North Vietnamese regular*
killtJ and 1,256 wound?
Hell on High Ground-The Fight for Hill 875
On a remote bamboo-covered hill in Vietnam near the Cambodian
border, Chaplain (Major) Charles J. Watters said Mass to a battalion
of paratroopers before the Sunday battle.
During his 16 months of duty with the 2nd Battalion, 503rd
Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade, Father Watters became as close as
he could to the men. He knew most of them by name. He had
listened to their confessions, delivered their Masses, and labored
for solutions to their problems. He was their Chaplain.
He was with his men when they parachuted into battle and
worldwide fame last February to spearhead Operation JUNCTION
CITY. He was also there when they sloshed through the rich coastal
rice paddies near Tuy Hoa and climbed the rugged mountains
surrounding Dak To. "He felt his place was with the men in the
field, no matter where they went, or what they did," said fellow
Catholic Chaplain (Major) Roy V. Peters. "He was hard-core."
He never went without his Mass kit. At an opportune time, he
would don his camouflaged vestments and set up a make-shift altar
on a stack of **C" ration cases. The jungle served as his church.
The 2nd Battalion paratroopers would gather around at Father
Watters' familiar call, "It's Mass time." "We always knew when
to come to church with Father Watters around," recalled one of
Last May, he was with the men of Charlie Company when the
paratroopers came under small arms and claymore fire from a
Viet Cong force of unknown size. Under heavy enemy fire, Father
Watters rushed forward to the side of a fatally wounded man.
He remained with the paratrooper until he had administered last
rites and the Sky Soldier was extracted from the battle field. For
his heroic action, Father Watters was awarded the Bronze Star for
Not long ago, Father Watters extended his Vietnam tour by
six months. "He decided to make the military his life," explained
Father Peters. "He felt he could do the most good in the Army."
As usual, the airborne priest was with his men recently when
the battalion assaulted a North Vietnamese force estimated at
battalion size, well dug in atop Hill 875. During the ensuing battle,
both sides suffered heavy casualties.
Despite the deadly mortar and small arms fire, Father Watters
moved among the wounded. Then he too was hit. He died beside his
men, ministering to them and helping with their evacuation.
One paratrooper summed up the battalion's feeling simply;
"From beginning to end. he was our chaplain."
Many of the first operations the Brigade
conducted after arriving in country were
termed "search and destroy." The purpose
of such operations is just as the name implies
— to search an area and to destroy or capture
enemy personnel and equipment.
The enemy must be tracked down and
fixed before he can be taken under fire and
destroyed. This type of action is necessary
because of the nature of counter-guerrilla
warfare in which the enemy seeks to harass,
evade and hide.
The efforts of every individual is co-
ordinated to locate the enemy. When con-
tact is made the infantryman maintains
pressure on the enemy location, while artil-
lery and air power are called in to pound
The airborne infantryman has the mission
of actually closing with and destroying the
enemy. When the artillery and air support
is completed, it is the infantryman who
must ferret out the small pockets of enemy
Many times the enemy avoids contact by
easily fading into the surrounding jungles —
to be chased until he can be destroyed.
When he stands to fight it will be the
airborne infantrymen who will carry out
the mission of— SEARCH and DESTROY.
i I ' I
$■ IL^ "i
p «&--.^ jBr,f,
J , : ' ,
iMjg .jm* 4 \
«&~- * ■-
To the wounded, the valuable minutes
between the time he has been injured and
the time he receives adequate medical
treatment can mean the difference between
life and death.
Because of this difference the medical
evacuation helicopter units, more com-
monly called "Dust Off", attempts to fly
into some of the tightest and insecure
landing zones ever seen in this country.
The man initially on-the-spot and respon-
sible for the lives of many soldiers is the
combat medic always moving under fire
to assist the wounded.
When "Dust Off" arrives, the wounded
soldier is placed aboard and flown to a
nearby medical facility. While in flight,
treatment is continued by a qualified aidman
who is also a crew member.
The bravery of the "Dust Off" crews has
been proven many times by their landings
under fire and in seemingly inaccessible
Medical support is provided by "B"
Company (Medical) personnel who are
capable of providing extensive medical
treatment to the wounded.
^gs 1 *'
The Army Chaplain plays a vital role in
Vietnam. To the men in combat, who face
the perils of war daily, he is a bright beam
of light giving them renewed faith and
placing in perspective the difficult job they
have to do in a country thousands of miles
The Army Chaplain has provided this
guiding light since the days of the Revolu-
tionary War. The gallant men of the
chaplaincy have proven again and again
their courage and unstinting devotion to-
ward the moral and spiritual well-being of
the combat soldier.
In the field, the Chaplains have to impro-
vise. It is not unusual to see a moss-
covered rock become an altar or a rain-
drenched jungle become a church. The
services are simple, but the combat soldier
appreciates the quiet reassurance that
comes from this simplicity.
The Chaplains of the 173d Airborne
Brigade are among the finest in the armed
forces. They have served under fire, aiding
the wounded, both physically and spirit-
Somehow these dedicated men of God
find the time for a moment of silence and
prayer in a war that is very real — anytime,
A 1st Battalion, 503d Infantry soldier,
commenting on his battalion's destruction
of a NVA ambush patrol : "That dog was
directly responsible for saving the men of
his company from injury or death."
Such tributes have often been paid to
the men and dogs of the 39th Scout Dog
Platoon. The platoon is charged with
training the man-dog teams used by the
line units in the Brigade for tracking the
elusive guerrillas in the dense jungle.
The dogs, all German Shepherds weigh-
ing between 50 and 100 pounds, are trained
at Ft. Benning prior to shipping over to
Vietnam. When they arrive at the 173d
Airborne Brigade they undergo a refresher
course with the soldier assigned to be their
The scout dog teams train using decoys
in the rugged brush country around the
Brigade area. The success of the teams in
battle has proven the merit and practicality
of the program.
Whether a clerk, a radio-telephone oper-
ator, or a platoon leader, all incoming
personnel in enlisted ranks through ser-
geant first class, and second and first lieute-
nants attend the 173d Airborne Brigade
The school strives to make each new
arrival in Vietnam a more effective soldier
by acquainting him with the ways of the
Brigade, the Vietnamese people, the coun-
try, and the War.
Students in the school profit by the hard
fought for experiences of the combat
veteran instructors. The fears, doubts and
questions of the new personnel are answered.
Classes in weapons and jungle tactics
serve both as a review and as a source of
completely new information for the new
arrival. Informative classes on what to wear,
how to pack, how to recognize the enemy,
and why we are in Vietnam are designed to
enrich and orientate the students before
they move to forward operational area.
"Be Alert and Stay Alive" is the school's
To coordinate fire missions of heavy
mortars, artillery, and Army and Air Force
aircraft, a fire support center (FSCC)
located within the Brigade Tactical Opera-
tions Center (TOC) clears all requests for
indirect fire. With FSCC control, it has
been possible to conduct the combined
fires of air strikes and artillery fire simul-
taneously with close coordination.
Artillerymen from the 319th fire the
105mm howitzer in direct support of each
battalion in the Brigade. Fire is 'adjusted
based on information received from an
artillery forward observer (FO) who moves
with each infantry company. The forward
observer requests fire 'through the Fire
Direction Center (FDC) located at the
battalion fire support base.
Additional fire support from the 60mm,
81mm, and 4.2-inch mortars, is used by the
battalion commander for quick support.
Also at the commander's disposal are
aerial fire support from Army helicopters
and Air Force tactical bombers.
Armed helicopters — called gunships —
provide close and extremely accurate fire-
power. Armed with 40mm grenade launch-
ers, M-60 machine-guns, and 2.75-inch
rockets, these gunships are a welcome sight
to the infantrymen in battle with the
Tactical airpower is requested and co-
ordinated by a Forward Air Controller-
called "FAC". He flies in an Ol-E "Bird
Dog" observation aircraft. Always above
a battle scene the "FAC" can observe
enemy movement and adjust incoming jets
quickly and accurately.
Unheard and out of sight, but bringing
a devastating load to preplanned targets
is the B-52Strato-Fortress— surprise through
silence and force.
Success on the modern battlefield is dependent upon fire superiority
and the success of fire superiority is dependent upon the ground corr^
nders best friend the Forward Air Controller (FAC
The prkaary mission of the (FAC) is to provide^he c
between the air and ground forces, to ensure maximum c
tactical air power.
An outstanding lesson learned — or
relearned — in Vietnam is the fact that
combat support and combat service support
are of extreme importance to the successful
conduct of offensive or defensive operations,
and that the movement of troops and sup-
plies to the critical point at the critical time
has been, and will continue to be the domi-
nant factor in winning a battle, or a war.
Conversely, it has been learned that the loss
of one's ability to move troops and supplies
entails the loss of initiative and a limitation
of action which can only result in final
The United States provides assistance to
foreign countries in two forms — combat
and civic actions. The latter program is the
responsibility of the Brigade S-5 (Civic
Civic action, sometimes referred to as
the "other war," wins the hearts and minds
of the people by helping the Vietnamese
to help themselves. This is accom-
plished through the construction of schools,
roads, bridges, dispensaries, churches,
waterways, homes, and other worthwhile
projects designed to provide the people
with a better way of life and instill in them
a sense of pride.
The program is planned to be self-
sustaining after hostilities have ceased.
During hostilities it is designed to give the
people of the Republic of Vietnam a feeling
of unity, purpose, and confidence in the
Government of Vietnam. Civic action also
provides a source of intelligence to combat
units as the people confide in those who
take interest in their problems. The poten-
tial to obtain useful intelligence is never
Civic action teams move out to the
many villages in the area of operations and
provide the people with medical and dental
services. These two programs, Medical and
Dental Civic Action Programs, constitute
a great deal of the S-5's help programs.
Doctors, dentists, and medics treat patients
and distribute needed supplies to the vil-
lagers. Sometimes food and clothing are
distributed to improve health conditions.
The Civil Affairs Section strives to further
the cause of freedom in Vietnam by bringing
aid to the sick in combat torn and disease
infested areas, and by working jointly with
government officials at province and dis-
Winning the loyalty of the Vietnamese
people to the government is as critical as
fighting the enemy. When the people realize
that their government is sincere in its efforts
to pacify the country, to build the economy,
and to administer and govern justly, the
enemy will be deprived of support from the
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Small by American standards, the Viet
Cong and their North Vietnamese counter-
parts have proven to be a formidable
foe. He can survive on a few fistfuls of
rice for days at a time; devise crude, but
effective weapons ; tolerate the rigors of the
steaming jungle; live off the fat of the land,
and if necessary ream out complex tunnels
beneath the ground.
The jungle is his home; his job is war.
His military tactics run the gamut from
Hannibal to Mao Tse Tung, and he wields
his terroristic sword with might and pre-
"Charlie" has a favorite tactic — the
ambush. For a long time he was successful
against those who didn't know the land
or the enemy, but the ambush is beginning
to lose much of its punch because the
Allied Forces have developed many equally
good counter-ambush techniques.
Elusive, nomadic, the Viet Cong con-
tinue to strike, but the mounting pressure
is causing him a heavy toll.
The Viet Cong's northern brother, the
North Vietnamese Regular, is well-trained
and equipped. He is the professional soldier
whereas the Viet Cong are often farmers
by day and guerrilla fighters by night. The
North Vietnamese soldier is usually drafted
into the army and forced to make the long,
arduous trip to South Vietnam. His pay is
almost nothing; a private receives five
piasters a month.
Even though the North Vietnamese Army
(NVA) soldier is not resupplied as well as
U.S. Army troops, he cannot be dismissed
lightly. A professional, he is highly indoc-
trinated by his leaders.
He is aware of his striking power and
uses it to full advantage. When a major
offensive is made, it is usually the NVA who
launch it. The North Vietnamese Regular
is a skilled soldier, but we have consis-
tently defeated him. He is becoming increas-
ingly hard pressed and desperate in his
war in the south. How long he will remain
as an effective fighting force is a formidable
The Sky Soldiers
"Airborne" is more than a pair of glit-
tering wings, it is an idea symbolizing that
a man believes enough in himself and his
country to go one step beyond just serving
his time. He strives to be the best.
Many of the troops arriving in country
have just finished jump school. It doesn't
take long for them to learn that they are
assigned to one of the finest fighting units
in military history — the 173d Airborne
The Sky Soldier is the main ingredient
in the illustrious record of the 173d.
Without him the 173d would be just
another unit, but with him the 173d will
live on and continue to be one of the
Larry S. Pierce
Milton L. Olive
Medal of Honor
In Vietnam all front line troops are heroes;
most of the valorous acts they perform go
unrewarded. But once in a great while the
actions of an individual soldier win him
the highest recognition not only of his
fighting buddies, but of the U.S. Army and
his country. In the 173d's history, there
have been four such men.
In February, 1966, Sergeant Larry Pierce
was posthumously awarded the first Con-
gressional Medal of Honor in the Brigade
for saving the lives of three of his men by
throwing himself on a claymore mine.
Company A, 2nd Battalion, had made
contact with a platoon of Viet Cong when
an enemy soldier threw a grenade at
Private First Class Milton L. Olive and
four of his buddies. Without hesitation,
PFC Olive jumped on the grenade, muffling
the deadly explosion with his own body at
the cost of his life. His four buddies escaped
unharmed and in April, 1966, Olive was
awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.
In December, 1966, Specialist 6 Larry
Joel was the Brigade's third recipient of the
award, for his heroic action while a com-
bat medic in Company C, 1st Battalion. As
the battalion fought a day long battle
against a 700-man communist unit, Special-
ist Joel, who was wounded twice himself
and was unable to walk, crawled his way
through the battle area, constantly exposing
himself to enemy fire as he administered
vital aid to badly wounded paratroopers.
Sergeant Charles Morris, the most recent
Medal of Honor winner, has also received
the Distinguished Service Cross. As a
squad leader in Company A, 2nd Battalion,
although hit 30 times by Viet Cong bullets
and grenade fragments, Sgt. Morris carried
on a fierce fight for 5 hours, personally
knocking out VC machine gun nests, killing
numerous VC, aiding wounded Americans,
and encouraging his men until the arrival
of a relief force.
Charles B. Morris